Chester Boodles Festival: Day 2 Preview

Chester Boodles Festival: Day 2 Preview

Day 1 of the Chester Boodles Festival is in the books but the top class racing is set to continue as Thursday features seven more races. 

Set to headline day 2 is the Group 3 Supporting Racing Ormonde Stakes. Seven horses will head down to post where the Aiden O’Brien trained Point Lonsdale will start as the heavy favourite.

As well as that intriguing contest, there are several competitive handicaps throughout the card as well as the Listed Dee Stakes.

If you are looking to pick a winner or two, then read on as we provide a breakdown of every race. 

Race 1: Caa Stellar Handicap 2 (5 furlongs)

Thursday’s racing starts with an extremely competitive twelve runner handicap. Raced over the minimum distance, the race is set to be fast and furious and those drawn on the inside could be worth changing.

Bagging Gate 1 is the Hugo Palmer trained Roman Dragon and he will be looking to win his second race of the season.

He clearly loves it around Chester and has already notched five victories at the track and being handed Gate 1 should certainly make his life easier. Despite being at a career high in terms of the weight he has to carry he must be one for the shortlist. 

Although Democracy Dilemma has never raced at Chester before, four of his five career victories have come at tracks that turn left handed and Chester should suit. Drawn in Gate 2, he could be an option at a price.

If looking to back one drawn higher in the stalls, a chance could be taken with Night on Earth. A hugely impressive winner at Epsom just over two weeks ago, if he can work his way to the front from his wide starting gate, he looks to have the talent to pull off the upset.

Caa Stellar Handicap 2 (5 furlongs)

Race 2: British Stallion Studs Ebf Maiden Stakes (6 furlongs)

Ten horses will head down to post for the day's second race and all will hope that this is the day where they can finally shed their maiden tags and win their first race.

The top of the betting market looks competitive and it’s the Brian Meehan trained Rashabar who is likely to jump off as the slim favourite. 

This will be just his second career start and he will hope to better the third place finish that he managed to achieve on debut. Two horses from his debut race have gone on to win and he looks to have some of the best form in the field.

Jessica Harrington has sent over a small squad for this week and the Queen of Irish racing will have high hopes for Passing Phase. 

Like Rashabar, he could only finish third on debut, but he threw away any chances of winning when in the starting stalls. Unable to settle, he lost valuable ground at the start of the race but raced on well to finish third. If he can settle quicker this time around, he could be a real threat to all in the field.

Teej A was able to finish second on debut and has been handed the dream draw of Gate 1. Whilst the form of his Nottingham debut is nothing out of the ordinary, he is well bred and looks more than capable of winning a race of this nature. Attractively priced, he could represent the best value in the contest. 

Race 3: Halliwell Jones Handicap 2 (7 furlongs)

Never So Brave will start the race as many people’s banker of the day. Twice a runner up last season, both horses that beat him went onto win Group 1 races so that form can’t be sniffed at.

Showing improvement already this season, he shed his maiden tag in convincing fashion at Thirsk a few weeks ago and should have more than enough class to handle most of this field.

If backing short priced favourites isn’t your thing, then taking him on with Grey Cuban could be a sensible tactic.

Gelded before the start of this season, the operation clearly had the desired effect as he cruised to an eight length victory at Wolverhampton just a few weeks ago.

This race represents a hike in class but if he can repeat that showing, he could certainly make an interesting race out of it. 

Race 4: Boodles Raindance Dee Stakes (1 mile and 2 furlongs)

Just five horses will compete for this year’s renewal of the Dee Stakes. One of the oldest races held in the UK, the race was first run all the way back in 1813 and has seen some of the very best trainers saddle winners.

In recent times this has been a race that Aiden O’Brien has dominated. A winner of five of the last six renewals, he has just sent one into this year’s race, Capulet. 

Yet to win since his debut, he has form to prove and locks horns with rival Bracken’s Laugh who beat him by three lengths when the two horses previously met.

Clearly O’Brien knows how to prepare one for this contest, but it looks like it would take something special for Capulet to come out on top.

Due to his defeat of Capulet, Bracken’s Laugh has to be one for the shortlist but it’s God’s Window who could take all of the stopping.

Able to finish third in the 2023 Futurity Stakes, he blew the start and was unlucky not to have finished closer. 

Making his seasonal bow at Nottingham just three weeks ago, he cruised past his rivals en route to an impressive victory and should have ground conditions that suit him perfectly. 

The class angle of the race, he could take some stopping.

Boodles Raindance Dee Stakes (1 mile and 2 furlongs)

Race 5: Supporting Racing Ormonde Stakes (1 mile and five furlongs)

The Ormonde Stakes is Thursday’s feature race and is the only Group contest on Thursday’s card. 

Seven horses have been declared and as is so often the case, it’s Aiden O’Brien who leads the market with Point Lonsdale.

The winner of the Huxley Stakes twelve months ago, he clearly likes things around Chester and after performing well in some competitive races around the Middle East over the winter, he should be fit and raring to go. 

Arrest so nearly won a classic last year when finishing second in the St Leger. A classy operator, he also likes Chester and was successful in last season’s Chester Vase. Drawn in Gate 6 he does have some tracking to do, and as long as those exertions don’t take too much out of him he should give his backers a real run for their money.

If looking to take the top two in the market on, Alsakib could be the play. Although he has form to find with the principles, he has won round Chester in the past and will hope to use Gate 1 to his advantage. He could run a really big race. 

Race 6: Precision Facades Handicap 3 (1 mile and 2 furlongs)

With the Group and Listed action behind us, the card closes with two interestingly poised handicaps. 

Twelve horses will trot down to post for the penultimate race of the card and Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore will team up once again and hope to complete a double after Never So Brave in the third race of the day. 

In this race, Moore will ride Crystal Mariner who will be having his first race of the season. Having won just one race so far in his career, he was gelded over the winter and there are high hopes that he will be able to take his career to new heights. However, with form and fitness to prove, many will be looking to take him on.

Inspiritus has already had a busy year with four runs on the all-weather. Yet to finish outside top 2 in any of those contests, he arrives bang in form and will be ready to do his running once again. 

If looking to back one at a price, then look no further than Baryshnikov. Twice a winner at this festival in the past, he loves Chester and often produces his best. A good winner at Redcar last week, he should be fit and ready for a real crack at this contest.

Race 7: Camden Town Brewery Handicap 4 (1 mile and 4 furlongs)

Thursday’s card concludes with a ten runner handicap where Chester legend, Franny Norton will hope to steer Arch Legend to victory. 

Having started the 2024 season with a bang, he has won both starts and is looking for a third success. Despite his good form, the draw could have been kinder and he will have plenty to do from Gate 7.

Fouroneohfever was also a winner when last seen and has been handed a nice draw of Gate 4. Trained by George Boughey with the superb William Buick on board, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him jump off as the favourite and win his first race on turf.

Contacto is another last time out winner but he has been drawn wide in Gate 9 and may have his work cut out. Raised nine pounds for his Doncaster win a few weeks ago, he will be taking on several progressive horses with a huge weight on his back. A lover of soft and heavy conditions, if the rain falls look for him to play a major role in the outcome of the race.